Cathay Pacific Airways today launched a temporary expansion of its operations in the Americas, with a 12-week cargo service linking Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) with Southeast Asia, to supplement the airline’s existing network of 19 cargo stations throughout the Americas, including East Coast cargo services to Boston, Newark, and Washington, Dulles, and a dedicated freighter port at New York (JFK). The first arrival touched down in Pittsburgh today at 10:30am local time, carrying consumer goods from Asia.
The temporary service will originate in Ho Chi Minh (SGN), stopping at Cathay Pacific’s Cargo Terminal at Hong Kong International Airport, landing in PIT every Monday and Thursday until November 26, 2020.
Notably, flight CX8800 will be operated by a reconfigured Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft instead of Cathay Pacific’s go-to ultra-long-haul freighter, the Boeing 747-8, of which there are currently 14 in its fleet.
“Cathay Pacific is excited to link Hong Kong, one of the world’s key intermodal airfreight hubs, to Pittsburgh. The city is ideally placed between the Eastern Seaboard and the Midwest, home to more than 50% of the population of the United States,” said Fred Ruggiero, Vice President Cargo, Americas, Cathay Pacific Airways. “Cargo remains a bright spot for the airline during this challenging time. This temporary expansion underscores Cathay Pacific’s commitment to our freight forwarder partners, who requested an expanded cargo service to meet heightened demand. We are pleased to join forces with Pittsburgh International Airport and Unique Logistics and look forward to assisting with future freight needs.”
“Pittsburgh’s history is as a center for transportation and logistics,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “We continue to have that industry as a core part of our economy, which is why I’m proud to welcome Cathay Pacific and Unique Logistics to our expanding air cargo portfolio in the region. We know now, more than ever, how important it is to move products around the world quickly and efficiently, and we look forward to both companies expanding their business in Pittsburgh.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Cathay Pacific and Unique Logistics in expanding our air cargo network,” said Pittsburgh International Airport CEO Christina Cassotis. “This is another step in building Pittsburgh International Airport into a global logistics center with world-class service. Our speed, efficiency and ideal location offer a unique benefit for carriers and freight forwarders looking to serve the North America market.”
In an effort to introduce additional cargo capacity where possible and help support global supply chains, Cathay Pacific reconfigured two Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into ‘preighters,’ with seats removed in the Economy and Premium Economy cabins to enable the airline to carry 12 tons of additional cargo under extra safety and security measures.
Cargo is currently the stronger performer for Cathay Pacific, operating over 436 pairs of cargo-only passenger flights and carrying over 102,122 tons of cargo and mail in August 2020. For more information on how Cathay Pacific reconfigured its passenger aircraft, please see the video here.